Kenny Rogers – The Gambler (1978)

FrontCover1Kenneth Ray Rogers (August 21, 1938 – March 20, 2020) was an American singer, songwriter, actor, record producer, and entrepreneur. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013. Rogers was particularly popular with country audiences but also charted more than 120 hit singles across various music genres, and topped the country and pop album charts for more than 200 individual weeks in the United States alone. He sold over 100 million records worldwide during his lifetime, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

On March 20, 2020, Rogers died under hospice care at his home in Sandy Springs, Georgia, a representative for the singer said in a statement. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the family is planning a small private service with a public memorial planned for a later date.

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The Gambler is the sixth studio album by Kenny Rogers, released by United Artists in December 1978. One of his most popular, it has established Rogers’ status as one of the most successful artists of the 1970s and 1980s. The album reached many markets around the world, such as the Far East and Jamaica, with Rogers later commenting “When I go to Korea or Hong Kong people say ‘Ah, the gambler!'” (as per the sleeve notes to the 1998 released box set “Through the Years” on Capitol Records). The album has sold over 35 million copies.

The title track “The Gambler” was written by Don Schlitz, who was the first to record it. It was also covered by several other artists, but it was Kenny Rogers’ adaptation of the tale that went on to top the country charts and win a Song of the Year Grammy, later becoming Rogers’ signature song. Although Johnny Cash recorded the song first, Kenny Rogers’s version was released first. Both this song and “She Believes in Me” became pop Postermusic hits, helping Rogers become well-known beyond country music circles. Although largely compiled from songs by some of the music business’s top songwriters, such as Alex Harvey, Mickey Newbury, and Steve Gibb, Rogers continued to show his own talent for songwriting with “Morgana Jones”. The album was produced by Larry Butler.

Its popularity has led to many releases over the years. After United Artists was absorbed into EMI/Capitol in 1980, “The Gambler” was reissued on vinyl and cassette on the Liberty Records label. Several years later, Liberty issued an abridged version of the album, removing the track “Morgana Jones”. EMI Manhattan Records released “The Gambler” on CD in the 1980s.[3] An ‘Original Master Recording’ from Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs was released on vinyl (audiophile edition vinyl).[4] Finally, “The Gambler” was released on Rogers’ own Dreamcatcher Records in 2001 as part of the Kenny Rogers “Original Masters Series.”

In Britain, both the title cut and the album did very well in the country market, but both failed to reach the top 40 of the pop charts. In the 1980s the single of “The Gambler” was re-issued and made the top 100 sales list, but again charted outside the top 40. It wasn’t until the song was re-issued in 2007 when the song was adopted by the England Rugby Team at the Rugby World Cup that it charted at its #22 peak.

Additionally, “I Wish That I Could Hurt That Way Again” was later a single in 1986 for T. Graham Brown, whose version went to #3 on the country charts. (by wikipedia)

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Kenny Rogers took a bit of a chance in releasing this loosly based concept album at the time, but boy, did it pay off! Sales for the album went through the roof, as the title track and “She Believes In Me” became pop crossover hits, with the latter reaching the pop Top 10. Later, “The Gambler” was turned into a string of made-for-television movies. (by James Chrispell)

he Gambler was Kenny Rogers’ third album of 1978, after Love or Something Like It and Every Time Two Fools Collide, a duet album with Dottie West. Thanks to its career-defining title track, The Gambler was also Kenny’s best-selling studio album, with more than five million copies sold in the US.

Written by Don Schlitz, “The Gambler” was a story song, the type at which Rogers excelled. It tells the tale the down-on-his-luck narrator who receives some unsolicited advice from a professional gambler during a late-night chance meeting on a “train bound for nowhere”. It was a monster hit, reaching #1 on the country chart, #3 on the adult contemporary chart and #16 on the Hot 100, and is Rogers’ best-remembered song today. Surprisingly, he wasn’t the first to record it. Bobby Bare and Johnny Cash had both released it as an album cut and Schlitz recorded his own version, which maxed out at #65. The album’s other hit single was the ballad “She Believes in Me”, a lush ballad about a struggling musician and the supportive wife he repeatedly takes for granted. It’s a bit too AC-leaning for a lot of people, but it’s a song I’ve always liked a lot. It reached #1 on the country and AC charts, and reached #5 on the Hot 100.

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“I Wish That I Could Hurt That Way Again” is another nice ballad, written by Rafe Van Hoy, Don Cook and Curly Putman, that would go on to be a big hit for T. Graham Brown in 1986. I think Kenny’s version could have been a big hit, but perhaps United Artists didn’t want to release another ballad on the heels of “She Believes In Me”. Sonny Throckmorton’s “A Little More Like Me (The Crucifixion)”, about a charismatic celebrity — a thinly veiled metaphor for Christ — is another track I really enjoyed.

KennyRogers02In the 1970s, country artists with crossover potential rarely released albums that were country through and through, preferring instead to include a variety of styles in order to appeal to as wide an audience as possible (although more often than not they managed to please no one). Kenny Rogers was no exception. I expected The Gambler to be a more country-leaning album, but a number of tracks: “Makin’ Music for Money”, “The Hoodooin’ of Miss Fannie DeBerry” (both written by Alex Harvey) and “Tennessee Bottle” incorporate a bluesy, funky vibe that might have been considered cutting edge in the late 70s, but it hasn’t aged at all well. I didn’t like any of these songs. Add to that list Rogers’ original composition “Morgana Jones”, a hot mess of a song that features some jazz scatting along with the R&B and funk.

Overall, The Gambler is a mixed bag. Only the two hit singles are essential listening. The album can be streamed, and it may be worth picking up a cheap copy if you can find it, but I recommend cherry-picking the handful of decent songs and forgetting about the rest.(by Razor X)

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Personnel:
Thomas Cain (keyboards)
Pete Drake (steel guitar)
Gene Golden (keyboards, background vocals)
Steve Glassmeyer (keyboards, saxophone, background vocals)
Hargus “Pig” Robbins (keyboards)
Kenny Rogers (vocals)
Edgar Struble /synthesizer, clavinet, percussion, background vocals)
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guitar:
Jimmy Capps Randy Dorman – Ray Edenton – Rick Harper – Billy Sanford – Jerry Shook –Tony Joe White – Reggie Young
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bass:
Tommy Allsup – Bob Moore – Dennis Wilson
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drums, percussion:
Eddy Anderson – Jerry Carrigan – Bobby Daniels – Byron Metcalf
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strings (arranged by Bill Justis)
Byron Bach – George Brinkley – Marvin Chantry – Roy Christensen – Carl Gorodetzky –Lennie Haight – Sheldon Kurland – Steven Smith – Gary Vanosdale – Pamela Vanosdale
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background vocals:
Dottie West – The Jordanaires – Bill Medley – Mickey Newbury

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Tracklist:
01. The Gambler (Schlitz) 3.31
02. I Wish That I Could Hurt That Way Again (Van Hoy/Cook/Putman) 3.00
03. King Of Oak Street (Harvey) 5.15
04. Makin’ Music For Money (Harvey) 3.20
05. Hoodooin’ Of Miss Fannie Deberry (Harvey) 4.40
06. She Believes In Me (Gibb) 4.19
07. Tennessee Bottle (Ritchey) 4.02
08. Sleep Tight, Goodnight Man (Lorber/Silbar) 2.55
09. Little More Like Me (The Crucifixion) (Throckmorton) 2.50
10. San Francisco Mabel Joy (Newbury) 3.44
11. Morgana Jones (Rogers) 3.10

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Kenneth Ray Rogers (August 21, 1938 – March 20, 2020)

Dixie Chicks – Fly (1999)

FrontCover1Fly is the fifth studio album by American country band Dixie Chicks, released in 1999. The album was very successful for the group, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. It has received diamond status by the RIAA on June 25, 2002 in the United States, for shipments of 10 million units.

The tracks “Ready to Run”, “Cowboy Take Me Away”, “Without You”, “Goodbye Earl”, “Cold Day in July”, “Heartbreak Town”, “Some Days You Gotta Dance” and “If I Fall You’re Going Down with Me” were all released as singles; “Sin Wagon” also charted without officially being released. “Some Days You Gotta Dance” was previously recorded by The Ranch, a short-lived country trio founded by Keith Urban in the late 1990s. Urban plays guitar on the Dixie Chicks’ rendition. (by wikipedia)

Wide Open Spaces unveiled the new incarnation of the Dixie Chicks, revealing an eclectic, assured group that was simultaneously rootsy and utterly modern, but if that 1998 de facto debut captured the band just leaving the ground, Fly — perhaps appropriately, given the title — finds the group in full flight, in full possession of their talents.

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This time around, the different sounds they draw upon are more fully integrated, which only makes them more distinctive as a group. Even if the whole of the album feels more of a piece, they still take the time to deliver a slice of pure honky tonk on “Hello Mr. Heartache” and a piece of breakneck bluegrass on the rip-roaring, wickedly clever “Sin Wagon,” which is also one of the group originals here, a collaboration between Natalie Maines and Emily Robison and outside writer Stephony Smith.

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It — along with the Maines-cowritten “Without You,” the Maines/Robison “Don’t Waste Your Heart” and Martie Seidel’s co-written “Ready to Run” and “Cowboy Take Me Away” — showcase the trio’s increasing craft as writers, which is one of the reasons this album sounds unified. But even the outside-written material feels like the group, whether it’s the twangy boogie “Some Days You Gotta Dance,” Patty Griffin’s “Let Him Fly,” the melancholy “Cold Day in July” and, especially “Goodbye Earl” where a wife gets revenge on her abusive husband. Like before, the group moves gracefully between these different styles, with Maines providing a powerful, compelling focus with Robison and Seidel offering sensitive support, and this blend makes Fly a rich, nuanced album that just gets better with repeated listens. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

In other words: This is one of the best Country orientated albums I ever heard  … and … enjoy the great booklet !

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Personnel:
Natalie Maines (vocals)
Emily Robison (guitar, banjo, dobro, vocals, lap steel guitar)
Martie Seidel (fiddle, mandolin, viola, background vocals)
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Pat Buchanan (guitar)
Blake Chancey (handclapping)
Steve Conn (accordion)
Marcus Hummon (guitar on 01.)
Mike Henderson (guitar on 12.)
Dennis Linde – acoustic guitar on “Goodbye Earl”
Terry McMillan (percussion)
Lloyd Maines (steel guitar)
George Marinelli (guitar on 05. + 12.)
John Mock (concertina, bodhrán, tin whistle)
Greg Morrow (drums)
Steve Nathan (keyboards)
Michael Rhodes (bass)
Tom Roady (percussion)
Charlie Robison (handclapping)
Matt Rollings (keyboards)
Randy Scruggs (guitar)
Adam Steinberg (guitar on 10. + 15.)
Bryan Sutton (guitar on 09.)
Keith Urban (guitar on 11.)
Billy Joe Walker, Jr. (guitar on 01. + 10.)
Paul Worley (guitar, background vocals)
“Iffy harmony” vocals on “Goodbye Earl” performed by
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background vocals on 06.:
The “Do-Wrongs”:
Blake Chancey – Paul Worley – Charlie Robison.
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String section on 10.:

Violins:
Martie Seidel – Carl Gorodetsky – Pamela Sixfin – Lee Larrison – Connie Ellisor  – Alan Umstead – David Davidson – Mary Katherine Van Osdale – David Angell – Janet Askey – Karen Winkelman – Cate Myer – Catherine Umstead

Viola:
Kris Wilkinson – Jim Grosjean – Gary Van Osdale – Monisa Angell

Cello:
Bob Mason – John Catchings

Conducted by Dennis Burnside

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Tracklist:
01. Ready To Run (Hummon/Seidel) 3.52
02. If I Fall You’re Going Down With Me (Berg/Roboff) 3.05
03. Cowboy Take Me Away (Seidel/Hummon) 4.51
05. Cold Day In July (Leigh) 5.12
06. Goodbye Earl (Linde) 4.19
07. Hello Mr. Heartache (Henderson/Hadley) 3.49
08. Don’t Waste Your Heart (Robison/Maines) 2.50
09. Sin Wagon (Maines/Robison/Smith) 3.41
10. Without You (Maines/Silver) 3.32
11. Some Days You Gotta Dance (Johnson/Morgan) 2.30
12. Hole In My Head (Lauderdale/Miller) 3.22
13. Heartbreak Town (Scott) 3.48
14. Ain’t No Thang But A Chicken Wang 0.07
15. Let Him Fly (Griffin) 3.08

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Dixie Chicks – Wide Open Spaces (1998)

FrontCover1.jpgWide Open Spaces is the fourth studio album and the major label debut of American country music band, the Dixie Chicks. It was their first record with new lead vocalist Natalie Maines, and became their breakthrough commercial success. It received diamond status by the RIAA on February 20, 2003 in the United States, having shipped 14 million units worldwide, while spending more than six years in the Australian ARIA music charts Country Top 20.

At the 41st Grammy Awards, the album was awarded 2 Grammy Awards out of 3 nominations.[5] It was awarded Best Country Album (the first of what would be 4 trophies in this category: they would later win for Fly in 2000, Home in 2003, and Taking the Long Way in 2007) and for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for the song “There’s Your Trouble”. This is an award the Chicks would win 5 times: in 2000 for “Ready to Run”, in 2003 for “Long Time Gone”, in 2005 for “Top of the World” and 2007 for “Not Ready to Make Nice”, a feat only matched by The Judds. In addition, the Chicks were nominated for Best New Artist in 1999.

“Once You’ve Loved Somebody” had previously been recorded by John & Audrey Wiggins on their 1996 album, The Dream. (by wikipedia)

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The Dixie Chicks spent the first half of the ’90s toiling away on the independent bluegrass circuit, releasing three albums on small labels, before sisters Martie Seidel and Emily Robison decided to revamp their sound in 1995, adding Natalie Maines as their lead singer and, in the process, moving the group away from bluegrass and toward a major label with Sony/Columbia’s revived Monument Records imprint. All of this seems like the blueprint for a big pop crossover move and, to be sure, their 1998 major-label debut Wide Open Spaces was a monumental success, selling over ten million copies and turning the group into superstars, but the remarkable thing about the album is that it’s most decidedly not a sell-out, or even a consciously country-pop record. To be sure, there are pop melodies here, but this isn’t a country-pop album in the vein of Shania Twain, a record that’s big on style and glitz, designed for a mass audience. Instead, Wide Open Spaces pulls from several different sources — the Chicks’ Americana roots, to be sure, but also bits of the alt country from kd lang and Lyle Lovett, ’70s soft rock (any album that features versions of songs by J.D. Souther and Bonnie Raitt surely fits this bill), even the female neo-folkies emerging on the adult alternative rock stations at the end of the decade.

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In other words, it hit a sweet spot, appealing to many different audiences because it was eclectic without being elitist but they also had a true star in Natalie Maines, whose powerful, bluesy voice gave these songs a compelling center. Maines was versatile, too, negotiating the twists and turns of these songs without a hitch, easily moving from the vulnerability of “You Were Mine” to the snarl of “Give It Up or Let Me Go.” The same goes for the Dixie Chicks and Wide Open Spaces as a whole: they are as convincing on the sprightly opener “I Can Love You Better” or the bright, optimistic title song as they are on the breezy “There’s Your Trouble” as they are on the honky tonk shuffle of “Tonight the Heartache’s on Me” and the rocking swagger of “Let ‘Er Rip.” It’s a remarkably wide range and it’s effortlessly eclectic, with the Dixie Chicks bringing it all together with their attitude and understated musicality — as debuts go (and this does count as a debut), they rarely get better than this. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Emily Erwin (guitar, banjo, dobro, vocals)
Natalie Maines (vocals, banjo)
Martie Seidel (fiddle, mandolin, vocals)
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Mark Casstevens (guitar)
Bobby Charles, Jr. (bass)
Joe Chemay (bass)
Billy Crain (guitar)
Lloyd Maines (steel guitar)
George Marinelli (guitar)
Greg Morrow (drums)
Michael Rhodes (bass)
Tom Roady (percussion)
Matt Rollings (keyboards)
Billy Joe Walker, Jr. (guitar)
Paul Worley (guitar)
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Tommy Nash (guitar on 12.)
Tony Paoletta (steel guitar on 12.)

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Tracklist:
01. I Can Love You Better (Hayes/Kostas) 3.54
02. Wide Open Spaces (Gibson) 3.43
03. Loving Arms (Jans) 3.37
04. There’s Your Trouble (Selby/Sillers) 3.13
05. You Were Mine (Erwin/Seidel) 3.37
06. Never Say Die (Ducas/Foster) 3.57
07. Tonight The Heartache’s On Me (Francis/MacRae/Morrison) 3.26
08. Let ‘Er Rip (Crain/Ramos) 2.51
09. Once You’ve Loved Somebody (McHugh/Miller) 3.29
10. I’ll Take Care Of You (Souther) 3.40
11. Am I the Only One (Who’s Ever Felt This Way) (McKee) 3.25
12. Give It Up Or Let Me Go (Raitt) 4.56

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Clint Eastwood – Cowboy Favorites (1963)

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Long before Clint Eastwood achieved iconic status as a superstar film actor and Oscar-winning director, he enjoyed (though reportedly not much) his own teen idol tenure portraying lovable dimwit Rowdy Yates on the popular TV Western Rawhide. Like all TV idols worth their salt, Eastwood had his fling in the recording studio. 1963’s “Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites” leans decidedly toward the W branch of C&W and offers a fascinating opportunity to eavesdrop as Dirty Harry drifts along with the tumbling tumbleweeds. (by Dennis Garvey)

With the rusty door-hinge of a voice he possesses today, it’s hard to imagine a time when Clint Eastwood could have been groomed as a singing star, but in the early ‘60s, when he came to fame as the rebellious Rowdy in the hit Western TV series Rawhide, it wasn’t such a crazy idea. In 1963, playing off the popularity of the show, Cameo-Parkway released an album featuring Eastwood’s versions of classic cowboy-style tunes. While Eastwood is admittedly not an exceptional vocalist, he’s not at all bad; this is by no means some Golden Throats-style celebrity train wreck. At the time, there were plenty of equally photogenic young men with no greater vocal ability than Eastwood being promoted as country singers, many with less of an actual musical background than the jazz-schooled actor. Eastwood’s soft, somewhat laconic croon might not possess the commanding quality that was de rigueur for the era’s country stars, but he never strays off-key, and his style is a kind of cross between legendary cowboy singer Roy Rogers and Dean Martin.

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Most of the tunes he tackles here were already well-known in hit versions by other artists — the Sons of the Pioneers’ “Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” Bob Wills’ “San Antonio Rose,” Gene Autry’s “Mexicali Rose,” etc. The loping rhythms, lonesome harmonica, lazy guitar licks, and male backing-vocal choruses are all in keeping with the production conventions of the day for cowboy artists. A couple of non-LP singles sweeten the pot, including the written-to-order “Rowdy,” intended as a sort of theme song for Eastwood’s Rawhide character. While Cowboy Favorites didn’t make Eastwood a C&W star, it wasn’t his country music swan song — years later he would record with Merle Haggard and sing in the films Paint Your Wagon and Honky Tonk Man. (by James Allen)

As far as Clint Eastwood’s career as a Country crooner is concerned, the actor has released a couple of singles—one with Merle Haggard and another with TJ Sheppard—and starred as a failed Depression-era troubadour in 1982’s Honkytonk Man.

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Clint has never done all that well in the vocal department. Back in 1963, when he recorded Cowboy Favorites, Eastwood was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I doubt it was his idea to cut the album—popular actors were frequently called upon to drop some vinyl into the market, to attract viewers to their series, pander to their public and make a little cash.

Since Clint had almost no range as a singer, his producer on that album seemed to bury the poor guy’s voice in harmonica, steel guitar and vocal backup. This album is more of a curiosity than an embarrassment; no one is ever likely to confuse it with the great gunfighter ballads sung by Marty Robbins or with Eddy Arnold’s Country-pop confections. (Henry Cabot Beck)

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Personnel:
Clint Eastwood (vocals)
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a bunch of unknown studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. Bouquet Of Roses (Hilliard/Nelson) 2.42
02. Along The Sante Fe Trail (Dubin/Coolidge/Gross) 2.49
03. The Last Round Up (Hill) 2.54
04. Sierra Nevada (Hannah) 2.53
05. Mexicali Rose (Stone/Tenney) 3.00
06. Searching For Somewhere (Harlington/Bramlett) 2.56
07. I’ll Love You More (Ingles) 2.30
08. Tumbling Tumbleweeds (Nolan) 2.50
09. Twilight On The Trail (Alter/Mitchell) 2.56
10. San Antonio Rose (Wills) 2.29
11. Don’t Fence Me In (Porter) 2.38
12. Are You Satisfied (Escamella/Wooley) 2.21

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Charlie Rich – Every Time You Touch Me (I Get High) (1975)

FrontCover1.jpgThe 1970s were a magical time for Charlie Rich and producer Billy Sherrill. Sherrill was the first producer who not only understood how gifted Rich was musically — he knew virtually no bounds when it came to popular music styles — but could comprehend and deliver Rich’s vision to record buyers. On the title track, restrained bass notes and minimal, jazzy pianism coast into a space where strings glide into Rich’s verse. Shimmering trills in the piano’s mid-range accent the end of each line, as do the female vocalists of the Nashville Edition. It’s dreamy and ethereal and the listener encounters quite literally what the song’s protagonist is describing. And “All Over Me” is a country tune with Rich’s honky tonk accents caressed by Sherrill’s strings and Pete Drake’s pedal steel in a broken paean to love gone awry. This is the album that pointed to all the various directions Rich wanted to explore musically. Like Ray Charles’ Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Rich extended it to include new textures and sounds in pop and country. A stunning example is “Since I Fell for You,” where Rich treats the melody like a rhythm & blues crooner and takes it to the breaking point of its country root.

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Side two holds a surprise in the dark, film noir-ish beauty of Margaret Ann Rich’s “Pass on By.” Again, the deep R&B strains meet doo wop, soul, and early rock in a setting provided by Sherrill that could have been in a 1950s thriller sung in a smoky lounge. And while the rest of the side is terrific as well, Rich’s own “Midnight Blues” walks the edge of rock and soul à la the Memphis sound. Shimmering strings in glissandi, stinging lead guitar, a trio of female verses echoing Rich’s lines, and Hargus “Pig” Robins’ honky tonk piano make the track swagger and shimmy, carrying the listener out on a rough and rowdy, darkly tinted note. Whew! (by Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
Tommy Allsup (guitar)
Larry Butler (keyboards)
Jimmy Capps (guitar)
Jerry Carrigan (drums)
Pete Drake (steel-guitar)
Ray Edenton (guitar)
Mary Alice Hoepfinger (harp)
Glenn Keener (guitar)
Sheldon Kurland (violin)
Charlie McCoy (harmonica)
Bob Moore (bass)
Hargus “Pigg” Robbins (keyboards)
Billy Sanford (guitar, mandolin)
Henry Strzelecki (bass)
Pete Wade (guitar),
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The Nashville Edition (background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Every Time You Touch Me (I Get High) (C.Rich/Sherrill) 3.03
02. All Over Me (Peters) 2.53
03. A Little Bit Here (A Little Bit There) (M.Rich) 2.31
04. A Mellow Melody (Sherrill) 2.25
05. Since I Fell for You (Johnson) 3.05
06. Pass On By (M.Rich) 2.35
07. Rendezvous (Sherrill/Wilson) 2.53
08. She (C.Rich) 2.49
09. You and I (Strzelecki) 3.24
10. Midnight Blues (Bowman/C.Rich) 3.07

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Willie Nelson – Live At The The Troubadour (West Hollywood CA) (1975)

FrontCover1.jpgThe year was 1975, and Willie Nelson figured he could trust bad luck more than good. His last album, Phases and Stages, had sold a pleasant 400,000 copies, but 21 previous records had largely lackluster sales. He’d tried pig farming on the side and ”lost my ass and all its fixtures.” His house had burned down, and rushing into the flames, he’d saved only his guitar and a pound of Colombian weed. So, after years of bucking the country establishment in Nashville, playing bass for Ray Price, and watching songs he wrote for himself (”Crazy,” ”Night Life,” ”Hello, Walls”) become hits for others, Nelson, who had moved back to his native Texas in 1970, got ready to deliver his Columbia debut, Red Headed Stranger, a concept album of love, murder, and redemption involving an Old West preacher and his cuckolding wife.

It was Nelson’s first effort at combining his own songs with others’ in a cohesive story. ”I Willie Nelson01.jpgwrote it as if I were the guy, which is probably the way I write everything,” he would later say. Produced in three days for $20,000 in a small studio in Garland, Tex., Stranger was everything a commercial country record shouldn’t be. It was a song cycle, not a grab bag of detached ditties. It used his own rough-edged band instead of smooth studio pickers.

When Billy Sherrill, Columbia’s top man in Nashville, heard it, he walked out of the room. When Waylon Jennings and Willie’s manager, Neil Reshen, played it for the New York brass, they thought it was a demo. Nelson reminded them of his creative-control clause and pledged to give it up if the LP bombed — but not even he foresaw what was about to happen.

Stranger became the first Nelson album ever to reach the Billboard pop chart when it debuted at No. 189 on July 26, 1975. It yielded two crossover singles, ”Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” and ”Remember Me.” The album, too, was a mainstream hit, selling like Gatorade at a chili cook-off-some 2 million copies over the next decade. It propelled Nelson to cult status overnight and, most important, introduced modern country music, single-handedly revitalizing a genre long considered the province of hayseeds. (ew.com)

And here´s a wonderful Willie Nelson concert from this year … this show should promote his “Red Headed Stranger”.

And here´s is theKWST-FM Broadcast Recording of this shoiw.

Another highligt in the history ofWillie Nelson !

Recorded live at the Troubadour West Hollywood CA., November 06, 1975

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Personnel:
Paul “The Devil” English (drums)
Rex Ludwick (drums)
Bobbi Nelson (piano)
Willie Nelson (guitar, vocals)
Jody Payne (guitar, vocals
Micky Raphael (harmonica)
Bee Spears (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Introduction 0.12
02. Whiskey River (Bush/Stroud) 4.35
03. Stay All Night (Wills/Duncan) 2.55
04. Funny How Time Slips Away (Nelson) 2.29
05. Crazy (Nelson) 1.36
06. Night Life (Nelson) 3.55
07. Me & Paul (Nelson) 2.44
08. Bloody Mary Morning (Nelson) 2.36
09. I Still Can’t Believe You’re Gone (Nelson) 4.08
10. It’s Not Supposed To Be That Way (Nelson) 2.04
11. A Good Hearted Woman In Love With A Good Timin’ Man (Jennings/Nelson) 2.53
12. KWST-FM Los Angeles Radio Station Promo 0.12
13. Time Of The Preacher (Nelson) 2.09
14. I Could Not Believe It Was True (Mellencamp) 1.08
15. Time Of The Preacher Theme (Nelson) 1.16
16. Blue Rock Montana (Nelson/Stutz/Lindeman) 1.30
17.Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain (Rose) 2.19
18. Red Headed Stranger Nelson/Stutz/Lindeman) 3.16
19. Time Of The Preacher Theme (reprise) (Nelson) 2.00
20. Unknown Song (instrumental) 1.27
21. Band introductions 1.01
22. What Can You Do To Me Now (Nelson/Cochran) 3.24
23. Shotgun Willie (Nelson) 2.41
24. A Song For You (Russell) 3.00
25. Rollin’ In My Sweet Baby’s Arms (Traditional) 3.01
26. Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Habershon/Gabriel) 3.55

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Various Artists – Crossroads Guitar Festival (2007)

FrontCover1.jpgReleased almost exactly three years after the first, tremendously successful Crossroads DVD, this double-disc documents the 2007 benefit concert for Clapton’s Crossroads Center substance abuse facility. “Guitar” is the operative word here, since all the participants are six-string players. As in the last show, the genres include country (Willie Nelson, Vince Gill), gospel (Robert Randolph), Latin rock (Los Lobos), pop (Sheryl Crow, John Mayer), jazz fusion (John McLaughlin, Jeff Beck) and lots of blues (everyone else). Some performers such as Randolph, Mayer, B.B. King, Jimmie Vaughan, Robert Cray, Hubert Sumlin, Buddy Guy, and of course Clapton return from the 2004 lineup. That was a two-day event held in Dallas, TX. This was a one day — a very long day — show moved to the home of the blues, a stadium just outside of Chicago, and features a very funny Bill Murray introducing the acts.

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Based on the sunlight, it seems to be in chronological order, or close to it. Each artist gets one or two tunes cherrypicked from longer sets which keeps this album fast paced, even at its three-hour length. Still, it would make sense to release more music on a separate DVD or even CD for those who would like to hear the rest of the material. That is especially the case with Jeff Beck and Robert Randolph, two artists that burn up the stage with abbreviated performances. A highly anticipated reunion with Clapton and his Blind Faith bandmate Steve Winwood results in three songs, “Presence of the Lord,” “Can’t Find My Way Home,” and “Had to Cry Today” from that band’s only album.

Sheryl Crow2

While it sounds fine, there is a noticeable spark and edge missing from the interaction, leaving it somewhat bland and certainly anti-climactic. Derek Trucks burns through Layla’s “Anyday,” though, and Clapton sounds inspired on “Tell the Truth,” another Layla track cranked up with Trucks taking the Duane Allman slide part. Collaborations also bring out the best in some axe slingers, with Vince Gill and Albert Lee’s hot-wired “Country Boy,” and Jimmie Vaughan fronting the Robert Cray band on a sizzling slow blues “Dirty Work at the Crossroads.” (by Hal Horowitz)

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Tracklist:
01. Sonny Landreth: Hell At Home (with Eric Clapton) (Landreth) 6.38
02. John McLaughlin: Maharina (McLaughlin) 8.00
03. Doyle Bramhall II; Outside Woman Blues (Reynolds) 3.45
04. Derek Trucks Band: Highway 61 Revisited (with Johnny Winter) (Dylan) 9.17
05. Robert Randolph & The Family Band: The March (Randolph) 12.04
06. The Robert Cray Band: Poor Johnny (Cray) 6.20
07. Jimmie Vaughan: Dirty Work At The Crossroads (with The Robert Cray Band) (Brown/ Robey) 4.09
08. Hubert Sumlin: Sitting On The Top Of The World (with he Robert Cray Band & Jimmie Vaughan (Burnett) 4.29
09. B.B. King: The Thrill Is Gone (Benson/Pettie) 7.14
10. John Mayer: I Don´t Need No Doctor (Ashford/Simpson/Armstead) 7.10
11. Vince Gill: Sweet Thing (Nicholson/Gill) 5.04
12. Albert Lee: Country Boy (with Vince Gill) (Lee/Smith/Colton)
13. Eric Clapton & Sheryl Crow: Tulsa Time (with Vince Gill & Albert Lee) (Flowers) 6.32
14. Willie Nelson: On The Road Again  (with Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill & Albert Lee) (Nelson) 2.50
15. Los Lobos: Chains Of Love (Hidalgo/Pérez) 6.53
16. Jeff Beck: Big Block (Beck/Bozzio/Hymas) 5.44
17. Eric Clapton: Little Queen Of Spades (Johnson) 12.59
18. Eric Clapton & Robbie Robertson: Further On Up The Road (Robey‎/Veasey) 7.18
19. Steve Winwood & Eric Clapton: Pearly Queen (Capaldi/Winwood) 5.47
20. Steve Winwood & Eric Clapton: Had To Cry Today (Winwood) 6.24
21. Steve Winwood & Eric Clapton: Cocaine (Cale) 9.30
22. Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood: Crossroads (Johnson) 5.59
23. Buddy Guy: Stone Crazy
24. Buddy Guy: Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues (Guy) 5.21
25. Buddy Guy & Eric Clapton: Hoochie Coochie Man (Dixon) 9.18
26. Buddy Guy: Sweet Home Chicago (with Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, John Mayer, Hubert Sumlin, Jimmie Vaughan, Johnny Winter) (Johnson) 8.53

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